Hatfield: House GOP continues to stand against election reform

March 27, 2017 Ryan Hatfield

For immediate release:
March 27, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Republicans have taken another stand against lasting election reform by rejecting a proposal from State Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville) that would have helped remove politics from drawing new districts for the Indiana General Assembly and our state’s congressional delegation.

House Republicans refused to consider an amendment from Hatfield that would have prohibited the use of political data to draw districts for the Indiana House and Senate and our state’s members of Congress. The proposal, rejected on a party-line vote, was offered to Senate Bill 220.

“This amendment simply said that officials may not use data related to party registrations, voting histories, and election returns in drawing new legislative and congressional districts,” Hatfield said.

“Approval of this proposal would have sent a clear sign that the Indiana General Assembly is in favor of a full, fair and completely impartial election system, rather than a system that leaves the people of Indiana feeling that our elections are rigged,” he added. “Right now, our legislative and congressional districts are drawn through an overtly political system that maximizes every opportunity for the party in power to maintain its control over state government. This amendment answers Hoosiers’ calls to take politics out of our redistricting process.”

Hatfield and other Indiana House Democrats have made several attempts to raise election reform as an issue worthy of consideration during the 2017 legislative session, only to be rebuffed by House Republicans at every opportunity.

“There was a bill that would have paved the way for an independent, nonpartisan commission to handle redistricting, but the chairman of the House Elections and Apportionment Committee (State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus) refused my call to vote on the bill in committee,” Hatfield noted. “Then his House Republican colleagues rejected attempts by myself and one of my colleagues to keep the idea of an independent commission alive this session.

“The House Republicans may not want to talk about election reform, but the people of Indiana do,” Hatfield said. “I will continue to talk about it in the weeks we have left in this 2017 session.”